Tuesday, March 13, 2018

My Path in Songwriting, Part Two

I’d been doing some freelance writing and editing, and managed to land a scriptwriting job with a startup company that wanted to make educational multimedia curriculum. This was a huge thing for me on any number of levels—it revitalized my professional and economic life, forced me to more deeply embrace digital media, and introduced me to more friends and collaborators.  

For my purposes in this essay, though, the biggest thing about the job was that it included songwriting. The courses included Schoolhouse-Rock-type songs in a variety of musical styles. We had other writers who contributed lyrics, but on balance, for most of the time I was there, I was the main lyrics songwriter, as well as a sometimes-contributor of musical ideas. I’d write lyrics for a song that would teach whatever concept the new module needed to cover, and then either send it to a freelance producer or an in-house musician/producer, who would turn it into a finished audio track. Or, sometimes I’d make a demo with a basic musical idea, and in those cases that’s what would go to the producer. 

Either way, and this is still amazing to me all these years later:  I was regularly writing songs as part of a salaried job, while earning a middle-class income. This was another period of creative growth and opportunity.

The cast of characters changed over the years, but I got to work on songs with a number of really cool musicians and writers, and the discipline of writing songs to length, on assignment, was an ongoing fun challenge. And we did some cool work. Such as? Glad you asked!

Here are a couple of samples:

--Here’s a bluegrass song on the basics of the water cycle.

--Here's a pop song reviewing how place value works with decimal numbers, and introducing the concept of the thousandth place and the ten thousandths place to the right of the decimal.

Sounds riveting, right?  It is, in fact pretty catchy. I'm proud of the work we did.   

I worked in that capacity for over nine years, until the company finally became stretched too thin on resources to keep making new content, and I was laid off. At that point, I moved into a more lucrative (but less creative) corporate writing job. Other than occasionally playing guitar or writing songs for fun, music took and back seat for the next several years. 

1 comment:

  1. Love hearing about your writing/music journey! Thanks for sharing this!